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Saturday, May 23, 2015


I stopped blogging. I really can’t say this or that caused it. There are so many random reasons. I think love for writing died a bit. Not a bit. it almost totally died. There are cobwebs over my blog now. I nearly don’t know how this blogging thing work anymore. Admittedly, I have been lazy too. There is no reason why one shouldn’t write. Citing busyness as an excuse shouldn’t also be. I think what may have affected me are worries that later choked the zeal to write. Now these worries are many. Paramount among them is the worry for cash. You know what I mean nah? Unpaid for writing/blogging doesn’t foot any bill. It only serves one thing, you. Your emotions are fed and tension soothed, dazall. The others are just worries of various nuanced things; things that are often personal to share. Recently, I envied the idea of being an anonymous blogger. There are things you really cannot say with your real identity known. You don’t know who is reading. And the shares over the web could suddenly make it a devastating step.

Not being able to freely share what constantly nibbled at my soul, blogging then became ordinary. I felt a bit like a fraud too. You know that awkward feeling you have when you’re trying too hard to impress, when things do not naturally come to you? That feeling threatened me. I did some blogging though before I finally stopped. But they just weren’t fluid. I stopped blogging for many listless random reasons, money was chief of all. Bills are to be paid, not written about. As one grows older and realities begin shutting in on one, priorities are made. And I’m sorry, writing didn’t make my list of the must-do. Following that I asked myself these: does money have to be an incentive for what one loves? Does time also have to be a factor? In the face of dire needs, I muddled up my sincere response to those and pursued survival. I love writing. I shouldn’t wait for any financial incentive to write. Time should be damned. Those are ideal answers I should have had. But really, life is never ideal.

I want to write again. Writing makes me normal somehow. It is a part (of me, of life) I miss. Not in a spiritual way (sorry, I don’t do the writing is a spiritual thing. I don’t understand that. If writing is so so spiritual does it mean if you don’t write, you will die? Plsssss…). I see writing as a calmer. You are tensed. You type the riots out and suddenly, sooths…. Writing is therapeutic that way. So, this was what I told myself before blogging this: I will write. I will write everything. I will disclose a lot. I will publicise my personal space. I will take stupid risks with writing. 

It is through those I could keep at writing.

I’m here now. This blogging still seems awkward a bit anyway after a long lull.

But I’ll return.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

@AKE: Green Tags and Memories by Miracle Adebayo

  • Read the first AKE series HERE

Miracle Adebayo (centre)
© Miracle Adebayo

If there’s something Ake 2014 taught me in the five days I was there, it was that an empty stomach is an enemy of the intellect.

Seriously, between the book chats and panel discussions and Master Classes, hunger was my constant companion. 

The first day was not a day of many activities; we had Master Classes running from 9am to 12pm. I attended the sci-fi Master Class which was spear-headed by the witty Mr Ben Aaronovitch- author of Rivers of London. 

When we took a break by 12pm, I was already restless. I went downstairs to find my friend and unofficial host, Tolu Daniel but unfortunately he had no good suggestion as to how to assuage the hunger. And considering this was my first time in Abeokuta, I definitely didn’t intend to waltz into any bukka to eat. So I went in to see Tunde Kelani’s Yeepa which turned out to be a good meal to stall the actual hunger.

Day two was when the guests began to arrive, the people-with-the-orange-tags, the ‘celebs’ of African writing. And that was when I saw first-hand the wonders of famzing. I think I should take a course in famzing soon because I totally could not keep up. Apart from the fact that I’m wary of crowds, I am also not so outgoing. It was a miracle I met Kate who became my informal partner in Ake. 

The real stuff started on the third day with the panel discussions and book chats. I opted for the panel discussion because I was looking forward to hearing more on Feminism.

One thing that would remain seared in my memory from Ake 2014 is not the dreary trip from Abuja to Abeokuta or the blankness that welcomed me as I stormed Abeokuta-well, not stormed per se because I came in quite humbly and fearfully - nor was it the way the venue of the festival buzzed with intellectual tension that one could cut through with a knife - no it wasn’t all these even though they made quite an impression on me. What would remain with me, what I would carry about with me  as a souvenir, is the green name tag that hung from our necks,  a name tag that read ‘Visitor', a name tag which would turn to a semi-curse for us in the days to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the colour green and absolutely nothing against the name tag; my problem was what they signified.

The green tag was a ticket to attend the panel discussions, book chats et al but at the same time it was what barred you from proceeding to the upper room for breakfast or dinner. So we were relegated to buying our meals at cutthroat prices. Yes, cutthroat! And at a point I wondered why we had registered for the festival with money if we didn’t get to be treated to at least one meal a day.

My favourite spot was the book stand; at a point when I realised I couldn’t buy as many books as I wanted to, I began to wish I could just lay my mat and sleep amidst the books. Bask in their ‘book-ness’. But instead when I felt alone, I took to strolling to the bookstands; touching and smelling them in a bid to alleviate my longing.

Friday was when I felt myself loosen up; I made new friends and reacquainted myself with Facebook friends. Still, I did a lot of quiet observation so I did not get overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the people.

Miracle Adebayo and Ben Aaronovitch

Saturday was by far my favourite day. First off, the literary icon Wole Soyinka turned up with a fashion sense I couldn’t help admiring. He didn’t look a day over sixty with his collarless black shirt that made him look dainty. But kai! The man is handsome sha!

The discussion with Nnedi Okorafor, Hawa Golakai and Ben Aaronovitch about sci-fi in motion was one of the highlights of the festival for me. While they spoke, I suddenly felt like I was among kin. I didn’t feel like I was floating; an outsider looking in. 

The barbeque which crowned the festival was done in style and for once, our green tag was no obstruction to our inner gods. 

It was an experience worth having and in a way as I said goodbye to Abeokuta on Sunday, a strange sadness tugged at me and it dawned on me that I had created memories in a strange land; memories -whether good or bad - that would stay with me for a long time.

As I write this, I stare at my green tag with a smile. 


  • Miracle Adebayo is a recent graduate of Law who however prefers the insides of a library to the insides of a court room. She is an avid reader and prolific writer and you can read most of her works on her blog: Her favourite pastime is writing stories in her head with her imagination in full gear. She loves reading conspiracy stories mostly because she finds them too amazing to write.  Her major inspiration? God.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

@ AKE: A Pond of Memories

©Rasak-Oyadiran Opeyemi

Rasak-Oyadiran Opeyemi (second left)
I live in Abeokuta, was born and bred there and I happen to have a relationship with it that is not very unlike the one I have with my old pajamas. Warm, baggy, very comfortable, worn out with memories and beautifully uninteresting. Then AKE happened and it was hellooo! Victoria secret lingerie.

--First Day-- 
And so it came to pass that on November 18 2014, I breezed into the June 12 Cultural Centre, baseball cap on head, body bag on arm and tongue fully in cheek. I was getting registered when I received a text from a friend letting me know he and the others were at the bookstands, I hadn’t seen my inner circle in a while, this festival was getting me drunk on joy already.

Walking down the lobby, I recognized a couple of virtual friends, some of us walked up to each other, peered at one another’s nametags and exchanged hugs and delighted squeals. I did find my friends later huddled together in a circle with some unfamiliar and vaguely familiar faces, having a debate on books and their film adaptations. Ibukun Adeeko, friend and mentor wrapped me up in a comical bear hug and introduced the others to me, we all got off to a great start.

The vibes and the energy in the air with so many writers, art lovers and readers from all the country and outside was great and yours truly basked in it like a lizard in the sun. Lola Shoneyin, the festival director was all over the place seeing things were going on smoothly and reminding us of next events, I would have missed some panels but for her, amazing woman. The guys and I were soon joined by Sueddie Vershima Agema and Agatha Aduro and I learnt that Amu Nnadi, a brilliant prolific writer and father of many Facebook children, was around. I went off to pay homage and was glad to find he was just as witty, kind and sweet as he was online.

An informal reading was soon organized and writers, both established and upcoming sat round and shared some of their works. My dear dear Gbenga Adesina, poet, essayist, friend and mentor called at this point to announce his arrival and it took restraint not to dance around the chairs. Amu Nnadi, when about to do his reading, called me out and sat me in the middle of the circle then read me Osa, my favorite poem in one of his collections. I think I died a little bit.

The screening of Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 came next, it was a beautiful work and I was particularly impressed by Kehinde Bankole and Kayode Olaiya’s performances, sheer genius.

---Second Day---

Day 2 and the festival was in full swing, I was blown away at the Mutation and Mutilation; Feminism in Africa panel discussion, Bisi Adeleye Fayemi was endearing as she dropped f -bombs at will. The book chat on Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods Inc. moderated by Kola Tunbosun followed. I was gratified to find Okey was as fascinating as his works and there was the Literature for Africa’s Children where I spent a lot of time gawking at Nnedi Okorafor’s dreadlocks and laughing at Ayodele Olofintuade’s repartees. I rounded up my day at the bookstands stocking up my library and admiring the various dreadlocks I saw being sported tastefully. Stocking up my library will later teach me a lesson. A not-so-good one.

---Third Day---

Day 3 was back-to-back excitement with Chude Jideonwo’s book chat moderated by Patrick Okigbo, the Religion, Education and the Menace of Violence panel discussion where E.E Sule, a panelist suggested the abolishment of religion in Nigeria for a while, followed by Zukiswa Wanner’s book chat moderated by the classy Molara Woods. Then the big highlight of the day, the panel discussion with ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. Shey you know our ex-president is an author too? *smiles* The panel was moderated by Patrick Okigbo. Issues ranging from Baba childhood, his time in the military, the civil war and the current administration which he rated below average. When asked about his view on homosexuality, the ex-president said he was a conservative and that the practice was an abomination. Mini hell danced on social media. Pro-gay attendees went on twitter and pronounced him a homophobe. Come see drama. Hen eh! Later in the evening, the 2015 Caine Prize judges were announced to the applause of many and Writivism collections were launched. Yeah, that was one good thing about being there. We got the news before everyone.

And my facebook friend and real life tormentor, Noah Oladele finally made his appearance on Day 3 and we traded jibes, our very style of friendliness.

---Account Went Red---

I started the final day with the Poisonous Gas; The Crude Politics of Oil in West Africa panel discussion which featured Rotimi Amaechi as one of the panelists and anchored by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke, then went to the Poets Anonymous panel which was very titillating and featured the poets on the panel reading some works.  I gawked and reveled in the presence of Professor Wole Soyinka. Jerome Okole moderated the chat and Wole Soyinka with his shock of white air, regaled us with tidbits of his relationship with Olusegun Obasanjo, Femi Banjo and his clashes with the military government among others. An autograph session followed.

Rasak-Oyadiran Opeyemi (right)

The Palm wine and Poetry session was a befitting way of ending the festival. Sublime poetry was read and performed by acclaimed poets like Jumoke Verissimo, Efe Paul-Azino, Kei Miller, Amu Nnadi and more, a guitar player whose soulful voice captured ears and hearts almost stole the night and all these went down while the audience downed palm wine in pretty little calabashes.  Barbeque and dancing followed later in the night with writers showing off their dance skills and party spirits. But some writers can dance sha. And some…issokay.

I was really excited about all the new books I was getting. Amu Nnadi gifted me his entire collections! Sueddie gave me a discount on his books, all autographed too! Did I mention that I took pictures with Kunle Afolayan, shared boiled groundnuts with Victor Ehikhamenor and almost stole Okey Ndibe’s pen when he signed my copy of Foreign God Inc? My ‘famzing’ antenna was going crazy! I however wasn’t excited about the fried rice that was always finished whenever I got to the caterers. I take fried rice very seriously. My future husband had better know o.

Nnamdi had tried in between panels to teach me Igbo but all I got was how to say ‘we are going downstairs’ for the panel discussion. Thanks Nnam! There was a time when Wole Soyinka walked past me and I thought ‘if only I could just touch his cotton shirt, perhaps I could be filled with the brilliance too’ get it?
I left that night after exchanging contacts and long hugs with a heavy heart. There was Amu Nnadi and his charm,  Nur’ayn Ali Balogun with his wit, Adeola Opeyemi and her smile, Mimi Adebayo, Tolu Daniel and his hugs, Nnamdi Anyandu with his bubbly spirit and many other fabulous people. I had new determinations and goals. The Ake Book and Arts Festival was a breath of air so fresh, y’all should come over next year and breathe.

And Yes. My account went red. Bought books like they were food and clothes. What does that make me?

  • ·         Rasak-Oyadiran Opeyemi is a poet, essayist and short story writer. She loves the colour brown, books, great music and the stage. She aspires one day to be a Jill of all trades and share drinks with Zadie Smith and Ben Okri but in the meantime is chasing a law degree.